Cell phone as hot spot experience...


Senior Member
Turned on hot spot capability with Cricket (it's a $10/month option on my plan) for a trip. Took my laptop to do a few things - nothing intense but a lot of things are easier on a laptop than a phone. Ended up parking in a Cracker Barrel parking lot last night. Too far from the building to get their wifi so did the hot spot. Had a thunderstorm and attempted to watch a streaming video. Massive buffering. Speed test showed 0.7 MBps. This morning with clear weather I am getting about 4. I understand the reduction from the storm. But 4 still isn't very good. Wifi at CB is about 1M. My phone shows 5G connection. It seems streaming video this way is not going to work very well, at least not often. Just figured I would share this...
I'm pretty sure Cricket is one of those companies which throttles all connections even more when not originating from the phone itself. Also keep in mind that 5G may perform worse than LTE.
Maybe so but the speed test was on the phone, not the hot spot pc. Trying to look at a few things with my PC this afternoon and sites are very laggy. At least part of the issue is the mobile sites don't have as much data for a page. Maybe some sort of ad blocker would help.
Every cellular network is going to vary based on which band, technology, phone and signal strength which is obvious, but just because an NVMO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) like Cricket uses a big operator's network (AT&T in this case) it does not mean the service will be the same. I can guarantee that if you were with someone using an AT&T phone, speeds would be much better, at least 90% of the time. Occasionally these NVMO's will state things like "you data speed may be slowed due to network congestion" but usually its much more complex than that. NVMO's negotiate with the big operators and these contracts can change over time. You are getting a better price in exchange for slower service.

Also, one more thing about NVMO's people don't realize. When you subscribe to Cricket, Boost Mobile, Consumer Cellular, etc. VS. AT&T, the NVMO users are usually not allowed to roam on domestic partner networks, where AT&T customers can. These are smaller independent companies in usually small towns. Sometimes this makes a difference also.

So, the moral of the story, if you want the best service that AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile offer, subscribe with them. Others will be cheaper, but service WON'T be as good. You get what you pay for.